Paradoxes (an excerpt)
Up in the attic was where gravity hid.
When you bounced on the bedsprings, you soared
into outer space, things would open wide
and you'd lay back and stare at your dead friend
floating weightless in the airthough he wasn't
really there, just a version of Rex who hanged
himself with the puppy's rope and whose bike
you borrowed for the day. The radio announced
his death and that you'd found him, though they
got your ages wrong: you were nine, not ten!
And then you'd sit up and crawl under the bedsprings
and look up through them into the dead boy's eyes
as if you were the dead one pinned to the earth
and spreading out above you he was all space
darkening to the bruised blue of his face.
Sub-zero mist settles down on the pond,
a mist so thick and bright that when you skate
through it your body carves a corridor
in the shape of your silhouette that hangs
immobile: a good skater's passage is straight
and true, but a wobbly-ankled stutter step
goes all crooked through the fog, abruptly stops
marking where the skater tripped and fell.
And after we've gone home, a big boy's corridor
shouldering aside a smaller one's while moonlight
comes swarming down through the gray, you'd swear
you could tell by their shoulders' set and sway
just who had passed this way on their big double blades,
giving their bodies to the momentum
that carried them along and out of sight.
What was Jesus writing in the dust? The magic hand
of Jesus writing something down? Maybe what would happen next
to you and her as she sat there beside you on the naugahyde
and cried and Jesus kept on writing until a great stone
rolled down on him from Heaven and crushed him?
The Bible didn't tell you so but Jesus was the stone, Jesus
was the President riding in the car, Jesus was the holes
in the President's throat and head, Jesus was the television
floating down from out of heaven that brought to you
the bullets and the horses dragging the coffin
to be buried in the red letters of Jesus' words
bleeding on the black and white skull of the President.
She cried on the couch and you sat there watching
Jesus writing in the dust like the dust you wrote
your name in before the dustrag came along and wiped it out.